TED News in Brief: Ben Saunders heads to the South Pole, and a bittersweet goodbye to dancing Bill Nye

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Over the past week, we’ve noticed a lot of fascinating TED-related news items. Here, some highlights:

Explorer Ben Saunders (watch either of his two TED Talks) is about to set off for his biggest expedition yet — a trek to the South Pole, entirely on foot. The Telegraph reports that he and Tarka L’Herpenière are making the 1,800 mile journey in an attempt to complete British explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1912 trip, which proved fatal for the entire crew. Follow along with his journey on his blog.

Atul Gawande (watch his talk) writes about the Affordable Care Act and its opponents in The New Yorker, noting that healthcare expansion has been an ideological battlefield in the United States for the past 75 years.

Speaking of The New Yorker, Maira Kalman (watch her talk) designed the magazine’s cover this week, which features a bulldog in blue boots.

A new project from Edward Burtynsky (who won the 2005 TED Prize), called Water, is on display at New York’s Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York and will soon be traveling to galleries in New Orleans, London, Cologne and San Francisco. Meanwhile, his documentary Watermark will be released in select cities across Canada on October 11.

Wildly creative dancer Kenichi Ebina (watch his performance from TED2007) this month won the eighth season of America’s Got Talent. Howard Stern says of his triumph: “I really do think Kenichi really deserves to win. I think the guy is an incredible talent.”

In other American-reality-TV news, Bill Nye (watch his TED-Ed lesson), the fan favorite on Dancing With the Stars, was voted off the show on Monday. His first dance, a cha-cha with Tyne Stecklein, was slammed by the judging panel, but fan votes kept him on the show. And 3.2 million YouTube views later, Entertainment Weekly said, “head judge Len Goodman, apparently dwarfed by the power of the internet, offered up a keyword-rich apology (!) for under-marking Nye last week.”

An Occupy Wall Street … debit card? Carne Ross (watch his talk) shares this idea with The New York Times, explaining that the cards are intended to be a financial product for the 99%, providing debiting power without high fees.

Peter Attia (watch his talk about rethinking diabetes) picks his 10 favorite TED Talks.

Bono (watch his talks) made a surprise appearance on Saturday at the Global Citizen Festival, a free concert in New York hosted by the UN to end extreme poverty, reports the Washington Post. He offered a funky introduction to R&B legend Stevie Wonder.

With Malcolm Gladwell’s new book just released (watch his talk about it), he’s sat for a number of interviews lately. Check out his fascinating conversations with The Guardian and Forbes.

After being confirmed on August 1 as the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power (watch her TED Talk) is being tested by Obama’s most recent decision on Syria, reports the New York Times.

Coursera, Daphne Koller’s (watch her talk) platform for online college courses, gets a hefty mention in this article about MOOCs.

Teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson’s had a busy week — she just released Rookie Yearbook Two, which features the best content of the past year in Rookie Magazine. She also just played a small role as the character Chloe in Nicole Holofcener’s film Enough Said, starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louise Dreyfus.

As the U.S. government shutdown continues, and 800,000 government employees are out of work, we’re hearing about more and more surprising effects of shutdown. Jane McGonigal’s clinical trial of the video game SuperBetter (watch the talk about it) is on hold since it’s funded by a NIH grant. Similarly, Carolyn Porco (watch her talk) tells us that she will be delayed in creating an end-to-end mosaic taken on the Day the Earth Smiled.

Richard Saul Wurman — TED’s co-founder — has announced plans for a new venture, the 555 Conference. Wurman tells The Washington Post the concept: five cities around the world each host a day-long event, featuring five global experts making their predictions for the near future.

And finally, Shawn Achor (watch his TED Talk) and the organizers of TEDxSanAntonio share the “Anatomy of a TED Talk.”